If you would like to divorce your spouse and you share young children, child custody will no doubt be one of your biggest areas of focus. Will the children end up living with the other party? If so, will you have the opportunity to visit the children often? Or can you both share custody of your children?
For many couples in Arizona, joint custody seems like a viable option. However, there are two different types of joint custody to consider: true joint child custody versus joint legal child custody.
True joint child custody
With this arrangement, you and the other party will both receive equal legal and physical custody of your children. Concerning legal custody, this means you will work together to make decisions about the children's upbringing. Meanwhile, concerning physical custody, you will spend equal amounts of time taking care of your children. For instance, your children may reside with you in January and then with your future ex-spouse in February.
True joint child custody is not very common because it typically comes with practical issues. These issues include, for example, scheduling problems as well as the challenges that come with constantly disrupting your children's routine.
Joint legal child custody
This arrangement happens to be more common than true joint child custody is. With this arrangement, both you and your future-ex can make decisions concerning how you rear your children. However, just you or the other party will receive physical custody, meaning that your children will reside with only one of you. The benefit of this arrangement is that it can provide the type of stable routine that your children seek as they adjust to life post-divorce.
Your rights concerning child custody
The ideal situation is for you and the other party to come to an agreement regarding how you will handle child custody matters. If you can see eye to eye in this area, you can put together a parenting plan, explaining in detail how you will go about child custody. For instance, in addition to addressing physical and legal child custody, you can spell out when your children will spend the holidays with your parents or your future ex's parents.
If you and the other party cannot find common ground in the area of child custody, a judge must make the final decisions in this area for you. Either way, an attorney can help you to seek the outcome you desire while focusing most importantly on your children's best interests.